Try something new at the Summer Reading Challenge

Published 12:00 am Sunday, May 15, 2016

By Jenny Hubbard

For the Salisbury Post

SALISBURY — North Carolina is home to so many great stories, so many great storytellers, and so I’ve chosen three books for the 2016 Summer Reading Challenge that celebrate this fact about our state.

“Nobody Calls Me Darling Anymore,” by Dannye Romine Powell. June 14. Full disclosure: Dannye has been my poetry teacher for a couple of years now, and I adore her. If there is a way to spend more time with her, I will find it.

So many people fear poetry because they think they aren’t smart or experienced enough to understand it, but that is not the case. I’ve been a poet for most of my life, and I can’t understand a lot of what I read in The New Yorker. Dannye is not one of those poets, thank goodness. Her work is accessible to the masses, and that is why I’ve chosen her latest collection of poems.

“Fair and Tender Ladies,” by Lee Smith. July 12. Love this writer, love this book. I wanted to read it again, study it more closely, and when I found out that Tara Gilstrap, a visiting professor of English at Catawba College, was interested in getting involved in the Summer Reading Challenge and is a Lee Smith scholar, I thought, “Well, there you go.” And for the overachievers in our midst, it’s a nice opportunity to pick up “Dimestore,” Lee Smith’s recently published memoir. I invited Lee to come, but she spends her summers in Maine. Still, I think with Tara leading the discussion, we will feel as if Lee is right there with us on.

“The Wright Brothers,” by David McCullough. Someone at last year’s Summer Reading Challenge recommended this one. It might have been Dottie Hoy, who keeps me on my toes about getting the word out. (Thank you, Dottie!) And thanks to my husband Steve Cobb, we do a non-fiction read now as part of the challenge. Because Steve reads mostly non-fiction and I read mostly fiction, he’s a valuable partner in this endeavor, and he’s a lively and entertaining speaker. So if you read no other book this summer, choose this one, so that you can come hear Steve on Aug. 16.